I’ve started this study on the book of Jonah. I’ve been a Christian my whole life and I’m embarrassed to admit this is the first time I’ve read the book in it’s entirety. When I came across this study I was like, “Blah, blah blah, 3 days in a fish (sure…), blah, blah, blah.” To me it was a kid book, a kid story. But something told me to watch the trailer for the study and he started talking about things like being a person of God yet not being loving (oh…), or only loving people that it is comfortable to love (eek…), and not having a true understanding of God’s love for us if we can judge who to love (oops…). Yeah, maybe this book was more than just a big fish story for kids.
Jonah was a prophet, he was a man of God. He probably quoted scripture and attended church regularly. But when God called him to go to Nineveh he was like, ‘Nah’. Nineveh was filled with people who loved war and who were sworn enemies of Jonah’s people. How many times have we done the same? ‘God, send me where you want me! Do with me what you need!” Then God calls us to do something even slightly uncomfortable and we are not so much into doing that whole ‘what God God called us to do’ thing anymore. Couldn’t I do your work in a place that I want with people that I am comfortable with? Seeing it written out like that is ugly!
One of the things Eric Mason (pastor and author of the study) says that I just can’t get out of my head is what if God loved us that way? What if He used our human system of judging and deeming who is and isn’t worthy of love. Ouch. I don’t want to live that way and I don’t want God to be that way. (Praise be that He is not!). God loves us. Period. You, too. Right now. Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, where ever you have been. When Jesus died on the cross it was for everyone, everywhere. Even if you curse His name until the day you die, He loves you.
It’s comforting for me to know that I am loved for who I am, right where I am. Imagine how we could make the whole world feel if we treated everyone that way? Anyone you meet, you can make them feel loved and valued. Not just the people who make it easy or comfortable: everyone. Try it. As you go about your day and interact with all different types of people, try to look at them like Go, does. Treat everyone as if they matter and are loved and have value because they do.
More to come about Jonah…..I could write a dang book!